Berkshire Hathaway profit up $19.5B in 2013

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

New York, NY, United States (4E) – Berkshire Hathaway reported a record profit of $19.5bn in 2013, according to the company’s annual report released Saturday, beating analysts’ estimate of $18bn.

Berkshire, the investing conglomerate chaired by billionaire investor Warren Buffett, owns a stock portfolio valued more than $115bn and over 80 operating businesses across insurance, retail, energy and manufacturing. The company credits the increase in earnings from the housing recovery, higher consumer and business spending, and the boom in oil drilling activities.

The book value for each class A and class B stock advanced 18.2 percent last year, according to Buffett in his annual letter to shareholders. However, Mr. Buffett was unable to top the 30 percent return of the Standard & Poor’s 500 in 2013.

Berkshire signed a partnership deal with Brazilian investment firm 3G Capital in June to purcharse ketchup maker H.J. Heinz for around $24bn. Berkshire’s utility subsidiary MidAmerican Energy also bought NV Energy for $5.6bn last year.

Fourth-quarter net income was $4.99bn, up 10 percent from $4.55bn, on revenue of $44.72bn in 2013. Berkshire’s insurance firms, which include General Reinsurance and Geico, posted an operating profit of $394mn in the fourth quarter, from a $19mn loss in the year earlier.

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